A Community Reinvestment Area plan under consideration by Bexley City Council is designed to bring a new child-care option for working parents to the city and promote the city's goal of attracting development to the North Cassady Avenue corridor, Bexley Mayor Ben Kessler said.

If council approves, Ordinance 07-20 will allow a former convenience store to be repurposed into a day care at 528 N. Cassady Ave. The CRA outlined in the ordinance would allow Green Meadows child-care facility to occupy the space and receive a 10-year, 50% real-property-tax exemption for improvements made to the building.

Kessler said the CRA plan is part of a tax abatement program the city offers in three areas: North Cassady Avenue, East Main Street and southwest Bexley along East Livingston Avenue. The program is designed to attract new investment to the city, Kessler said.

"New investment can be a little less predictable for investors, so that's the intent behind the program," he said at council's first reading of the ordinance Jan. 28.

Jessica Saad, who introduced the ordinance, said that as a parent of young children, she has seen firsthand the need for more child-care options in Bexley.

"I know that for many of my friends and residents in Bexley in the 43209 (ZIP code), when you are heading back to work and you have a 6-week-old (infant), there's not a lot of options," Saad said. "This Green Meadows will allow for that in the 43209 area. I think it's a great addition to the community."

The Bexley Board of Zoning and Planning's unanimously approved Green Meadows' design plans and a permit for conditional use as a day care at the board's Jan. 23 meeting.

Green Meadows owner Nathan Kayes said planned improvements to the site include the installation of a playground, landscaping and new signs.

Green Meadows currently operates a day care with 130 students at 101 Green Meadows Drive S. in Lewis Center, Kayes said, and the company anticipates enrolling about 60 students and employing eight to 10 people at the 528 N. Cassady Ave. location.

The CRA plan at 528 N. Cassady Ave. is not tied to how many jobs the Green Meadows day care would bring to Bexley, according to Kessler.

"While we can benchmark jobs, that typically is seen in larger projects like the (East Main Street) Gateway project where we're bringing in 100 new jobs. (It's) a little less common for smaller use," he said. "This is simply tied to the value of improvements put in place."

The tax abatement that Green Meadows could receive would be based on a valuation determined by the Franklin County Auditor's Office after the company makes improvements to the building, Kessler said.

"We don't have from the property owner yet the value of the improvements," he said. "It's only the increase in value that there's any abatement."

Ordinance 7-20 was scheduled for a second council reading Feb. 11, with a third reading and council vote tentatively scheduled for 6 p.m. Feb. 25 at Bexley City Hall, 2242 E. Main St.

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